Christian Theology, Biblical Theology

"You are no longer under law but grace; therefore, sin shall not have dominion over you" "The grace of God has appeared teaching men to say no to sin"

John Wesley Free Will

John Wesley Free Will

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In 1765 John Wesley on free will gave a sermon titled Free Grace that dealt with what Calvin called ‘the horrible decree’ of predestination. Here is an excerpt from that sermon:

Let it be observed that this doctrine represents our Blessed-Lord ‘Jesus Christ the righteous’, ‘the only-begotten Son of the Father, full of grace and truth’- as a hypocrite, a deceiver of the people, a man void of common sincerity. For it cannot be denied that He everywhere speaks as if He was willing that all men should be saved. Therefore, to say He was not willing that all men should be saved is to represent Him as a mere hypocrite and dissembler. It can’t be denied that the gracious words which came out of His mouth are full of invitations to all sinners. To say, then, He did not intend to save all sinners is to represent Him as a gross deceiver of the people. You cannot deny that He says, ‘Come unto me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden.’ If then you say He calls those that cannot come, those whom He knows to be unable to come, those whom He can make able to come but will not, how is it possible to describe greater insincerity? You represent Him as mocking His helpless creatures by offering what He never intends to give. You describe Him as saying one thing and meaning another; as pretending to love which He had not. Him ‘in whose mouth was no guile’ you make full of deceit, void of common sincerity. Then especially, when, drawing nigh the city, ‘He wept over it’, and said, ‘Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how often I would have gathered thy children together … and ye would not’. Now if you say, ‘They would’, but ‘He would not,’ you represent Him (which who could hear?) as weeping crocodile’s tears, weeping over the prey which Himself had doomed to destruction.

Such blasphemy this, as one would think might make the ears of a Christian tingle. But there is yet more behind; for just as it honors the Son, so doth this doctrine honor the Father. It destroys all His attributes at once. It overturns both His justice, mercy, and truth. Yea, it represents the most Holy God as worse than the devil; as both more false, more cruel, and more unjust. More false; because the devil; liar as he is, hath never said he ‘willeth all men to be saved’. More unjust; because the devil cannot, if he would, be guilty of such injustice as you ascribe to God when you say that God condemned millions of souls to everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels for continuing in sin, which for want of that grace He will not give them, they cannot avoid. And more cruel; because that unhappy spirit ‘seeketh rest and findeth none’; so that his own restless misery is a kind of temptation to him to tempt others. But God ‘resteth in His high and holy place’; so that to suppose Him of His own mere motion, of His pure will and pleasure, happy as He is, to doom His creatures, whether they will or not, to endless misery, is to impute such cruelty to Him as we cannot impute even to the great enemy of God and man. It is to represent the most high God as more cruel, false, and unjust than the devil. This is the blasphemy clearly contained in ‘the horrible decree’ of predestination.

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